Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
As the most anticipated blockbuster of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy has a ton of marks to hit. Almost immediately, it reveals its lackluster aim in a few of these departments. Director James Gunn, working with a budget that amounts to 10 times the cash allowed for his previous two features combined, shows that he has a lot to learn in bringing action scenes to life. The large-scale aerial battles neglect coherent geography; the hand-to-hand combat takes place in a virtual fog machine. When he aims to jump from one piece of his temperately constructed world to the next, the seams are bold and abject. The film’s narrative is jagged, its exposition is clunky, and its sense of rhythm seems to vanish altogether from time to time. And that score… oh, my, that score.
So with technical flaws coming out the wazoo, you’ll really have to touch the personal to figure out why and how Guardians of the Galaxy manages to be one of the most wonderful blockbuster movies in ages.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
You’ll have to think back to your earliest experiences with superheroes, science fiction, and adventure. Perhaps back to your first big screen encounter with Star Wars — for me, a trip to Flushing, Queens’ multiplex with my uninterested father (if it’s not The Sting, he’s not into it) and ecstatic pal Timothy in 1997 — the film to which Guardians owes just as much as Godzilla does to Jurassic Park, though with an attitude less pious than devilishly affectionate.
That distinction in reverence is where you’ll find your connection to Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that is just as much a tribute to the experience of watching the past half-century’s slate of great fantastical epics as it is to the features themselves. Guardians, a movie that treats itself with the same degree of cheek as it does its predecessors, celebrates everything that happens in the theater during a spectacle of its ilk. It celebrates the wisecracks we can’t help but whisper to our neighbors after a dramatic set piece, the often glossed-over character beats that showcase a scar beneath the heroism of every Skywalker and Solo (rejoice: this film is heavy on the Hans, light on the Lukes). It celebrates our curiosity about every odd shot, creature, and plot contrivance scrapped from focus in the interest of the Hero’s Journey. Guardians celebrates just how much we always hate to say how much more we’d love these movies if they went all the way bananas.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
Which, for sure, this one does. The movie bands together the strangest assortment of characters — a jackass space punk (Chris Pratt), a reformed intergalactic assassin (Zoe Saldana), a humorless (and yet the funniest of the bunch) alien menace (Dave Bautista), and a misanthropic raccoon thief (Bradley Cooper) and his kindhearted tree bodyguard (Vin Diesel) — on what amounts to a convoluted brazen rejection of Marvel’s usual A-to-B storyline: there’s a powerful orb, and about a half dozen villains, varying in villainy, who want to get their hands on it for disparate villainous reasons… any attempt to further access the mythology will render you a huddled, nauseated mess.
Throughout this technical haze, Guardians carries forth with more spirit than anything Marvel has put out to date. Its characters aren’t limited by the sincerity of their sacrosanct brethren; Pratt is encouraged to make his Peter Quill the most engaging hero a film of this scale has seen to date. Quill and his literal partners in crime are used toward the perfect end of playing expansively with every trope that we’ve seen in blockbuster past, of tackling every question and quip that has found fertile soil in the brains of three generations of captivated genre fans. And all this, quite remarkably, without expensing the movie’s earnest construction. That’s because Guardians builds its world from the ground up with the heart inherent in that fandom. The kind of heart that loves these movies, but also the exciting, active, imaginative game that is watching them.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
That’s the kind of heart you find in Guardians’ story and, better yet, its characters. They’re our people (or aliens, or trees, or raccoons). Ours for the knowing and empathizing with; the very sort of heroes we knew we would be in our own all-the-way-bananas story, were it ever possible… or allowed to happen on the big screen. Piety of the picturesque be damned, we get those kinds of heroes, that kind of story, and — most palpably — this kind of spirit in Guardians of the Galaxy. At the expense of technical perfection and narrative flow? Maybe. Is this not a flaw but a ploy to further personalize this adventure for the ultimate connection one might forge between superhero and superfan? Hard to say. But the connection is made nonetheless, and we have in James Gunn’s wonderful movie a special experience for anyone who has spent years loving this genre from afar: Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t sit us down to show us a spectacle, it invites us into one.
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R&B star Ray J has detailed his regret over shooting a sex tape with Kim Kardashian in a new track titled Never Shoulda Did That. The singer famously featured in a sex tape with the reality TV beauty that was made when they were dating in 2003 and subsequently leaked in 2007.
He has now released a new track in which he appears to express his sorrow for making the recording.
In a promo for the song, which was released on Tuesday (29Jul14), he can be heard confessing his regret in the line, "f**king b**ches on camera, never shoulda (sic) did that s**t".
Ray J also admits to taking drugs, getting into brawls and cheating on his girlfriend in the candid track, which frequently repeats the title.
Kim Kardashian has blasted actress Adrienne Bailon for making scathing comments about the reality star's brother Rob Kardashian in a new magazine interview.
The former Disney Channel star dated Kardashian for two years until 2009 and the pair's romance fall apart onscreen on the family's reality show after he admitted to cheating on Bailon.
The actress blasts him in a new issue of Latina magazine, insisting she hates being blamed for their break-up.
Kardashian's sister Kim hit now back at Bailon on Twitter.com, writing, "Funny how she says being with a Kardashian hurt her career yet the only reason she has this article is bc (because) she is talking about a Kardashian... So sad when people try to kick my brother when he is down #FamilyForever."
Justin Bieber and actor Orlando Bloom squared up to each other during a party in Ibiza, Spain early on Wednesday morning (30Jul14).
The Hobbit star and the troubled pop idol were at a star-studded event at Cipriani restaurant when the two were caught on camera nearly coming to blows.
In footage obtained by TMZ.com, Bieber and Bloom get involved in an altercation that soon turns into a shoving match, and a voice which editors claim to be the singer is heard yelling, "What's up, b**ch?" in an attempt to egg Bloom on.
After the incident, Bieber reportedly left the party, which was also attended by Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Sean 'Diddy' Combs. It is not known what sparked the clash.
In 2012, rumours surfaced that Bieber was getting "too close" to Bloom's then-wife, model Miranda Kerr after a Victoria's Secret fashion show in New York City, and earlier this year (14), Bloom was spotted spending time with Bieber's ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.
Veteran R&B group New Edition's former managers are suing the singers for outstanding fees amounting to over $500,000 (£295,082). The founders of Benchmark Entertainment filed documents in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday (29Jul14), alleging their former clients refused to pay up after firing them last month (Jun14), according to the New York Daily News.
Originally hired in 2012, Benchmark's founders Steven Greener, Kevin Gasser and John Hammond claim they masterminded a New Edition reunion tour, which is set to kick off later this year (14).
However, after band members Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins cut ties with them, the Benchmark bosses claim the group refused to pay them for the work they did securing the upcoming tour.
The management company founders claim they are owed at least $500,000 for setting up radio interviews and photo shoots, organising merchandising deals, securing venues and hiring a publicist,.
Benchmark's founders have also served as managers for artists such as Will Smith, Erykah Badu, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins.
The lawsuit is the latest blow for the band - Bobby Brown bowed out of an ongoing U.S. tour due to medical reasons earlier this month (Jun14).
The singer struggled to bounce back from "an intrusive medical procedure" and found himself exhausted and fatigued onstage. The 45 year old, who was placed under doctors' care, returned to the spotlight in Detroit, Michigan on Friday night (25Jul14) but still appeared to be struggling to keep up with his bandmates.
Reports suggest Brown had difficulty with the demanding choreography and frequently walked to the end of the stage to pause and break from dance routines.
New Edition's current tour wraps up in Los Angeles on 3 August (14).
Rapper Ludacris will be honoured with the President's Award at the Broadcast Music, Inc. R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Los Angeles next month (Aug13). The Area Codes hitmaker will be feted in recognition of his achievements in songwriting and his global influence over the past 16 years of his career.
Announcing the news, BMI Vice President Catherine Brewton says, "We are proud to be honouring Ludacris with our President's Award. He is a hometown hero to the city of Atlanta, who has had a remarkable career in music, film and television.
"His consistency in the industry, as well as his outreach in the community proves he is more than deserving of the BMI President’s Award."
The 36-year-old MC has sold seven million records worldwide, picking up three Grammy Awards. He has also made a name for himself as an actor, starring in films such as Crash and the Fast & Furious franchise. And now he's a TV talent show judge after joining the all-star panel on U.S. show Rising Star.
Ludacris joins a roster of other acclaimed artists who have received the President's Award, including will.i.am, Adam Levine, Carlos Vives, Taylor Swift and Pitbull.
R. Kelly has been dropped from an upcoming music festival in Ohio following a slew of complaints over his controversial past.
Kelly was set to perform as the headliner at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus in August (14), but he has now been dropped from the line-up following a storm of protest on Twitter.com and Facebook.com.
The news came after local bands Damn the Witch Siren and Saintseneca, along with several sponsors, pulled out of the event over Kelly's involvement.
In a post on Twitter.com, the festival's organisers announced they have "decided to part ways" with the controversial R&B star, with local paper The Columbus Dispatch quoting festival spokesperson Melissa Dickson as saying, "We wanted to make sure we heard the Columbus listeners... to make a statement and support the city we live in."
Kelly's publicist also released a statement, saying, "R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours."
Kelly was indicted in 2002 on charges of making child pornography, but was acquitted in 2008.
The remaining headliners of the festival include O.A.R. and Michelle Williams.
R&B star Ne-Yo has gone public with his new romance following a split from his longtime girlfriend. The So Sick hitmaker began dating Monyetta Shaw in 2009 and they welcomed daughter Madilyn in 2010 and son Mason in 2011, but the couple split last summer (13) and now the singer has moved on with video vixen and model Crystal Renay.
She has been sharing photos of the new couple together on her Instagram.com page, and Ne-Yo confirmed the budding relationship last week (ends25Jul14) by posting a shot of her kissing him on the cheek.
He opened up about Renay in a recent radio interview with New York's Hot 97, saying, "We are in a good place... She has much promise. Yes, much promise. Quality."
Ne-Yo also revealed he did not want to keep his personal life a secret from fans, explaining, "You know what, at this point in my career, at this point in my life... I'm 34 years old, I don't have time to be hiding.
"Of course, there are some things you keep personal and private because you're a human being. But, on the other side of it, I ain't got time to be hiding nothing and all that (sic). It is what it is."
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal is to receive a top award at the Sarajevo Film Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Motorcycle Diaries actor will join Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic and designer and filmmaker Agnes B. when the event marks its 20th anniversary next month (Aug14).
Bernal will be presented with the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award, alongside Agnes B., at the festival's opening on 15 August (14), and Tanovic will receive the same honour at the event's closing ceremony on 23 August.
The actor will attend the opening night screening of Alejandro Inarritu's Amores Perros, which features Bernal in his first big screen role, and he will also meet young filmmakers from the Sarajevo Talents program, which is run in cooperation with the Berlin Film Festival.
Veteran singer/songwriter Marianne Faithfull had to undergo a course of rehab last year (13) after becoming hooked on morphine as she recovered from a broken back. The British star, who kicked a crippling heroin addiction in the 1980s, was forced to cancel a string of concerts after suffering a serious injury in a fall at a hotel in Los Angeles.
She was prescribed opiates for pain relief during her months of recovery but was disgusted when she realised she was hooked on the medication, and was pleasantly surprised when medics helped to wean her off the drugs within days.
The As Tears Go By hitmaker tells Mojo magazine, "Oh God, it was awful. Actually, I never took morphine in my life. Junkies hate morphine. It's not fun. It's just a painkiller. My dear doctor in Paris said, 'You're not going to be able to come off this on your own, are you?'. I said, 'Nooope (sic). I am not.' And bugger me, he got me off in a week."
Faithfull also reveals she had to wait a year for an insurance payout over the injury because her hard-partying reputation preceded her, adding, "They are b**tards. Of course, it was, 'Oh Marianne Faithfull... well she must have been on alcohol and drugs.'"